Thai researchers breed and release endangered bamboo sharks to the ocean – Thai PBS World Tonight [7th June 2021]
In the Gulf of Thailand, fisheries researchers use a guideline to scuba dive to the ocean floor where they release baskets full of young bamboo sharks into the wild.
The small, slow moving, bottom dwelling sharks with striped bodies and an extra long tail have become endangered in recent years because of their popularity with fish collectors and exotic food diners.
Researchers have released scores of juvenile bamboo sharks in the Gulf over the past several months, hoping to remove the species from the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s “Near Threatened” red list.
Last week they released 40 of the brownbanded bamboo sharks, aged between 2 and 3 months, in a purpose-built artificial coral reef at a depth of 18 metres (60 feet).
Udom said a successful egg hatching project last year was providing researchers with more baby sharks to release this year.
The species is native to the Gulf of Thailand, and is also found across Southeast Asia, Japan, and Northern Australia.
The sharks are one of the smallest marine predators, growing to a maximum length of around 1.2 metres (4 feet), and are not threatening to humans. They feed mainly at night, using their small teeth to grasp or crush prey.
Researchers hope the released sharks will settle into their new home, where they will initially be sheltered by the man-made reef and hopefully reproduce.
The project has so far helped hatch, nurse and deliver more than 200 bamboo sharks to the Gulf of Thailand.